Welcome to Big Cat Country’s weekly roundtable, where our staff previews each Jacksonville Jaguars game and makes picks for each NFL game. The Jaguars are favored by 3.5 points against the Tennessee Titans in Week 18, according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
Which Titans player poses the biggest threat this week?
Justin Cross: Whether it’s C.J. Beathard or Trevor Lawrence at quarterback this week, the Jags must commit to the running game for the offense to put up points. Containing Denico Autry is a tall task, but one that needs to happen if the Jags want to come out on top.
Travis Holmes: Initially my answer would have been Jeffrey Simmons wreaking havoc on the interior offensive line. However, with Simmons being placed on IR on Christmas Eve, that is one less force for Jaguar fans to worry themselves about. The next most explosive threat would be Derrick Henry. I think most of Duval County has had past nightmares of his prior performances, which speak for themselves. Contain Henry; clinch the AFC South.
Gus Logue: Arden Key. He may not be the best player on Tennessee’s roster, but he very well may be the most motivated on Sunday. Key has talked dirt about Jacksonville in each week leading up to a Jaguars-Titans matchup this season. He’s likely upset with the front office for lowballing him after a solid 2022 campaign, and Key will try to take out that anger on the field this weekend against Trent Baalke’s roster.
Adam Snowden: Of the three, Hopkins poses the biggest threat if paired with a healthy Will Levis. The Jaguars’ passing defense has been fairly porous in the four games prior to last week, and Hopkins is still one of the best receivers in the game. After all, the Levis/Hopkins duo was largely responsible for the comeback win against the Dolphins just a couple of weeks ago. Ultimately though, the greatest threat to the Jaguars is... well, the Jaguars, who had simply not been able to get out of their own way amidst the 4-game losing streak. The Jaguars are the better team and if they can play to their ability, they should win this game.
Henry Zimmer: I think the biggest threat to the Jags will be Harold Landry. The Titans have absolutely nothing to lose on Sunday, and I would think would want to unleash their defense in any way possible to play spoiler for the Jags. Landry has 10.5 sacks this season, including 5 sacks in his last four games. The Titans only had 1 sack the last time the two teams met, but that could change as the team throws the kitchen sink at the Jags in the Titans’ final game of the year.
How would you rank the AFC South for the next three seasons?
Justin: I think the AFC South will steadily climb as a division over the next three seasons. By 2026, I can potentially see it on the same plane as the other AFC divisions, if not at the very top in the entire league. A lot has to break for that to happen, but all four teams have really good coaches with a couple of those teams having franchise quarterbacks. That’s a recipe for this division to become stronger and stronger in the coming years.
Travis: I view the division moving forward as Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, and Indianapolis Colts. Until given a reason to believe otherwise, I view the AFC South as a dogfight and feel that the crutch of this franchise will continue to be Trent Baalke. The Texans have closed the gap between the two squads, and still have a top-five cap space scenario, a top rookie quarterback, a solid offensive coordinator, with a defensive head coach. Houston may be just an average free agency class away from being a true problem.
Gus: Jaguars, Texans, Colts, Titans. Houston and Indianapolis appear to have quarterback/coach combos capable of rivaling Jackonville’s duo, but the Jags have an edge due to experience. Trevor Lawrence is about to complete his third NFL season and Doug Pederson has a Super Bowl win under his belt. There are some extremely good coaches in this division, and potentially some star passers as well, but Jacksonville is one step ahead for now.
Adam: To be honest, my confidence level in the following rankings is extremely low. All four teams will likely be undergoing massive change in the next few years, and all four have crucial tools set up for success. Overall, I think the AFC South will be much more competitive for the next five-plus years, featuring numerous playoff teams and yearly shifts in the division hierarchy. Still, my slightly biased rankings are as follows: Jaguars without Baalke, Texans, Jaguars with Baalke, Colts, Titans.
Henry: I think the AFC South might be planting itself as one of the better divisions in football. Trevor Lawrence has planted himself among the best in the league. C.J. Stoud could win Rookie of the Year or even MVP this season. Anthony Richardson and Will Levis both look to have the tools to be good. This division is going to be rough in the next three years. In one season, the South has gone from one of the bottom-dweller divisions to one of the best. It only stands to continue to rise as all four teams have legitimate playoff aspirations now.
Final score prediction?
Justin: Jaguars 28, Titans 17
Travis: Jaguars 33, Titans 13
Gus: Jaguars 23, Titans 13
Adam: Jaguars 27, Titans 20
Henry: Jaguars 18, Titans 10
Here are our staff’s Tallysight picks for the full slate of games this week.
What are your Week 18 predictions, Jaguars fans? Let us know in the comments!